The older that I get, the more I’ve come to appreciate the providence of God. I don’t believe in luck or coincidences; rather, I believe that the Lord can (and often does) orchestrate “divine intersections” of things, people, places, and ideas that at first glance, appear to be unrelated.
Just so we’re on the same page here, let’s define “providence” the way that Merriam-Webster does: “divine guidance or care.” Biblical providence goes much deeper than this, but the dictionary definition speaks to a key aspect of God’s character in a broad way.
The Lord is always at work: In the background, in the foreground, within us, and within others. There is no time when God lacks agency – He is perpetually at work, often operating through people we know and everyday circumstances. This we already know – it’s how God connects everything (past, present, and future) that really blows my mind.
I do not believe that we sit passively by while God does His thing; rather, it is my Bible-based view that the Lord helps to inform our decision-making as we seek His wisdom, but we nonetheless are responsible for making our own choices. I believe that God frequently enables us to cooperate with His plans by giving us the freedom to make wise choices (we can also make unwise choices, but God can even repurpose those to bring about growth and healing, if we seek Him first). Of course, because the Lord knows all, He already understands how everything will play out ultimately, but this knowledge by no means strips us of our personal responsibility – quite the opposite!
As I’ve shared in my two previous posts, I am making my way through The Chronicles of Narnia again. Tonight, I more or less read for five straight hours as I enjoyed The Horse and His Boy, the third installment in the series.
For me, a key theme evident in the book (revealing none of the plot) is the providence of God – how He allows us to be at just the right place at the precise time; the way He brings certain people into our lives, so that all parties have the opportunity to grow and learn; and how He works through the trials in our lives to bring healing to the wounds from our past in ways we never could have imagined (consider the story of Joseph in Genesis 37-50, and the life of Daniel – these men never could have anticipated the ingenious ways that God would connect the dots to not only bring peace and restoration in their own lives, but also use each man to bring an even greater healing to whole societies and nations!).
I am just outdone – in a good way! – as I ponder the providence of God. When we interpret our experiences in light of this truth, we have many reasons to be hopeful, indeed.